StrategyOctober 22, 2006

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Buyer Beware

By Ben Stokes

A few months ago, I participated in the High Riser Dynasty league auction draft. I had no idea what I was doing. I have never done a dynasty league or an auction-style draft (bid on 15 players given $165), but come to find out, I was not alone. It turned out that most of us participating were experienced fantasy players, but totally inexperienced with the concept of an auction.

In a dynasty league, you can keep all of your players. There is also a two round rookie draft at the start of each year, and the last place team gets the first pick, hoping to grab the next Lebron James to totally turn his team around (except for this year, where all rookies were just included in the auction). I figured I’d be good at this since I watch a ton of college basketball, and I should have a pretty good idea of the new young talent coming to the NBA. The hard parts of the auction draft is not putting so much money into an unproven kid that you cannot get guys that will produce now, and planning out your budget. Which the latter seemed to be the hardest part for just about all of us.

My preparation for the draft consisted of going to Basketball Monster and getting players value for a $165 auction. I found out that the most expensive player last year according to these values was Shawn Marion at $44, with the rest of the fantasy studs coming in at the $30-$40 range. I figured that I should get the best stud I could get at the best value, and then pick up a lot of upper to middle round players and have a balanced team. I also figured that because of the inexperience, a lot of players that were put up first would be going for a lot more money than I wanted to spend, so I figured I’d let everyone else overpay at the beginning, and then pick up a ton of bargains.

Draft day came on August 1 and all of us were pretty excited, some of us a little too excited. It soon became apparent within the first couple players auctioned, the strategies each of us were using. Some of us were using the “get the studs no matter what the cost” method; while others (including me) used the “get the good players at good value” method, then we also had some “get players with potential, no matter what the cost” methods. As I predicted, some of the first couple players went for a lot of money, too much in my opinion, but you can be the judge of if they were worth it or not (keep in mind, $165 for 15 players).

Early Expensive Picks
- Sebastian Telfair, the first person auctioned off, unproven and all, went for $17.
- Shaquille O’neal, in the twilight of his career (for a dynasty league, he’s not exactly going uphill), often injured, and those killer free throws, went for $12.
- Channing Frye, very young, very undersized center, will probably never be great, but be a decent fantasy center, went for $16 (the same amount that Brad Miller would go for later on).
- Randy Foye, rookie that will not start, but has potential, went for $16; twice as much as fellow rookie who will probably start and is the favorite for Rookie of the Year, Brandon Roy.
- Lebron James, sure he’s a stud, and he’s young, but considering he was worth $39 last year, he went for a mind-numbing $61, leaving his owner only $104 to complete his team of 15.

Later Value Picks
- Mike Bibby, solid point guard who gets “true” point guard numbers consistently – $16.
- Jason Richardson, young guy who just keeps getting better, should be good for a long time – an astounding $12, probably the steal of the draft.
- Lamar Odom, very complete player – $14.
- Joe Johnson, won’t get as many assists, but is still a great player – $15.
- Mehmet Okur, is center eligible and had a breakout year last year – $13.
- Zydrunas Illgauskas, sure he may be getting a little old, but for $11, he’s sure a lot better than Shaq.

Now that you’ve seen some of the picks, lets check out how each of the different strategies played themselves out. We play head to head style and have daily lineups. Also, we have to have one rookie on our team at all time.

The “Get the studs at no matter what the cost” strategy

This team went out and spent a ton early (on Garnett at $47 and Marion at $52), then was forced to get cheaper players later on. This team did have good value picks with Bibby, Sheed, and JR Smith, but this team is forced to play a lot of players that should not be in a fantasy lineup. However, his studs may be able to compensate for that

PG: M.Bibby ($16)
SG: J.R. Smith ($2)
G: Marcus Williams ($2)
SF: S.Marion ($52)
PF: K.Garnett ($47)
F: P.Stojakovic ($19)
C: R.Wallace ($17)
C: F.Elson ($1)
Util: K.Perkins ($2)
Util: M.Webster ($1)
Bn: J.Magloire ($2)
Bn: S.Jasikevicius ($1)
Bn: J.Tinsley ($1)
Bn: A.Jefferson ($1)
Bn: B.Haywood ($1)

The “Get the good players at good value” Strategy

This is my team, as you can see, I tried to pick up a lot of players in the $12-$20range later on, tried to find all the bargains, and have a balanced team. I don’t have any players that would be drafted in the first round, and possibly even the second (which usually is never good), but I have a ton that would be drafted in rounds 3-5, and hopefully the balance in my roster will make it a good team.

PG: Luke Ridnour ($8)
SG: Jason Richardson ($12)
G: Joe Johnson ($15)
SF: Gerald Wallace ($28)
PF: David West ($20)
F: Richard Jefferson ($18)
C: Ben Wallace ($20)
C: Chris Kaman ($15)
Util: Cuttino Mobley ($4)
Util: Tony Parker ($7)
BN: J.J. Redick ($5)
BN: Jamal Crawford ($3)
BN: Bobby Simmons ($5)
BN: Zaza Pachulia ($4)
BN: Donyell Marshall ($1)

The “Get the players with potential, no matter what the cost” method

This team went out and got Telfair, Bargnani, and Thomas early, spending a lot of money on those unproven but talented players. He also picked up another rookie, LaMarcus Aldridge to add to his already young team. If his young talents turn into young studs, he’s golden, but if they don’t, he’s going to have some big problems.

PG: Sebastion Telfair ($17)
SG: Kobe Bryant ($47)
G: Kirk Hinrich ($20)
SF: Marquis Daniels ($3)
PF: Andrea Bargnani ($11)
F: Shareef Abdur-Rahim ($9)
C: Shaquille O’Neal ($12)
C: Chris Mihm ($2)
Util: Tyrus Thomas ($13)
Util: Allen Iverson ($19)
Bn: LaMarcus Aldridge ($2)
Bn: Kenyon Martin ($3)
Bn: Steve Francis ($3)
Bn: Jerry Stackhouse ($1)
Bn: Rasho Nesterovic ($1)

Which method is the best? I am not for sure. I like my team, but I’m sure other guys in the league like their team just as much. For those of you who are going to try these leagues in the future, just be aware of what you are doing, have some sort of game plan; you don’t want to run out of money while you still have empty roster spots (in our league if this happened, the commissioner would put a worthless player on your team; and when I say worthless, I mean it). I would suggest if you are going to do a league like this and are new to it, to look at our results here at the Cafe. Like I said, I’m not going to tell you which method to pick, that is for you to decide. I hope that in the future there are more leagues like this, because it will be a lot of fun. Whether you are reading this to use now or later, it is interesting to take a look at. I hope this is worth something to some readers out there, Happy Buying!

If you'd like to talk more with Ben, you can find him in the Cafe Forums where he posts under the name statsman88.
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